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The People – not just Civil Society – must Unite against the Common Enemies

An Interesting article posted on the Emergency Times Mailing list

By Yousuf NazarState of Pakistan>

There comes a time in a Nations history that the people must take charge of their own destiny. The issue now is not: boycott or participate in the elections. People want a just society, the Pakistani nation wants true democracy, and country needs its sovereignty back. None of the major players, the Establishment, Benazir or Nawaz Sharif or the Mullah-Military alliance can restore justice, democracy or sovereignty to Pakistan. The people and the people alone would have to fight this War for Pakistans Azadi. Let America and its puppets fight the so-called War on Terror.

We have been having elections since 1985 after Zia-ul-Haq imposed martial law in 1977 but virtually nothing has changed. It is even more ironic when some major newspapers publish meaningless and superficial articles with headings like “Let the people decide as if American intervention and Army do not exist. The business of the state and politics has become a mafia enterprise with the usual mix of big money interests and crime. This criminal enterprise has the active support of the Americans who find it convenient to use a corrupt instrument that a military dictatorship is. Either in its pure form or in a diluted form, that is, in a coalition with come corrupt politicians. Many developing countries have passed through this phase. But the will of the people ultimately triumphs. So we must not despair.

However we need to be very clear that the forces of oppression and corruption have thrived not only due to the support from the U.S. but also due to the fact that the people have allowed them to divide, coerce, silence, and deceive. The people – and not just the civil society – must unite. Civil society is a rather Western term – with its origins in the liberal democracies – and I do not have a conceptual issue with it. But for a movement to succeed in Pakistans current conditions, it must and it has to mobilise, involve, and relate to the masses and not just the educated few, especially in a country like ours where 74% of the people survive on minimum wage or below.

It is therefore the need of the hour that all civil society organizations think about broadening the scope of the current movement against the state of the emergency to incorporate what is the crux of the issue: the country needs freedom from dictatorship and America. It is not the sole privilege of any political party or a civil rights group to fight for this. This should be the common goal of every Pakistani who wants to see the rule of the people. The two main obstacles to the establishment of a free, just, and democratic Pakistan are dictatorship and America.

It is therefore absolutely logical that all patriotic and freedom loving Pakistanis should raise their voice against both. From Ayub Khan to Yahya to Zia-ul-Haq to Musharraf, it is the United States that has sided with the Generals as it historically did in all developing countries. To expect that a democratic movement can succeed without confronting the dictatorships biggest and most powerful supporter is hoping against all hopes.

If our civil society forgets this and limits the democratic struggle to a few objectives like the restoration of the judiciary or repeal of oppressive media laws, it is unlikely that such an agenda would capture the imagination of the masses who are very conscious of who really pulls the strings in Pakistan. Until and unless, a movement appeals to the popular sentiments and peoples real aspirations, it is likely to remain a protest of a selected few with little chance of success.

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